Anyone interested in the launch of the new bigger, smarter, faster Mars rover Curiosity this weekend (2am Sunday) may be interested to know there’s a Canberra connection to the launch.
The Canberra Deep Space Communications Centre (or Tidbinbilla Tracking Station to locals) will be hosting a “Tweetup” of 50 lucky NASA/CSIRO Twitter followers at the centre for three days before and after the launch.
A Tweetup is something that NASA does to bring supporters together for an ‘inside view’ of an event – usually launches of the Space Shuttle and other missions. The tweeting of event commentary by participants extends the reach of the information virally to their followers and leads to an amazingly large audience. This is the first time a NASA co-sponsored Tweetup has been held in the Southern Hemisphere. Tweeps will be inside the centre witnessing the launch, and the first in-orbit signals to be received from the launch rocket will be via CDCC.
The local Tweetup program includes talks with leading scientists who have been involved in the science going into the Curiosity experiments, telescope viewing, and more. It’s three days of geeky science overload and I’m stoked to be one of the 50 – I’m @alankerlin. You can also listen to a 10-minute CSIRO podcast about the event.
You can follow the proceedings, see photos etc via the hashtag #CSIROTweetup, or the similar event at the launch at Kennedy Space Centre itself via #NASATweetup. You can also watch the launch live via www.nasa.gov/ntv – look for the HD stream link on the left side of the screen if you have a good connection – looks gorgeous plugged into your big screen TV, with the volume cranked at launch time.
If you are interested in hearing about other events that may come up in the future, follow @CSIROnews